City Living: The Theater District is where New York's heart beats on stage
Even if you don't have a ticket to a Broadway show, Midtown's Theater District is worth checking out.
When The New York Times relocated in 1904 to what was then known as Longacre Square, at 1475 Broadway, New Yorkers began to follow the newspaper uptown.
A subway station was built, and the most famous theaters in the world were erected -- some of which, like the Lyceum Theater at 149 W. 45th St., still operate today.
The Lyceum is Broadway's oldest continually operating theater; it opened in 1903 with a production of "The Proud Prince."
By the 1920s the area was booming with theaters on every corner; electrified advertisements lit up the once-sleepy square, renamed Times Square, and the Theater District was born.
Today, amid hordes of tourists and suits, some of the original establishments that served the New Yorkers of yesteryear remain.
Restaurants like Sardi's at 234 W. 44th St. and Gallagher's Steakhouse at 228 W. 52nd St. have been destinations in the Theater District since the 1920s.
This New York flavor has remained in the heart of the city despite a period of unease in the 1970s when Times Square was among the seedier places in the city.
These days' world class restaurants, top notch attractions, and a booming job market beckon locals and visitors alike.
"Times Square itself is its own diversified economy," said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. According to the Alliance, Times Square and its surrounding Theater District blocks support 10% of the city's jobs despite being comprised of 1% of the city's landmass.
Real estate in the area hasn't skipped a beat either.
"I think that the height of this area improving economically is when these new construction projects came out," said Michelle Sedlitz, an agent with Citi Habitats who sells property in the neighborhood.
Sedlitz frequently sells at some of these newer luxury buildings, like the Platinum at 46th Street and Eighth Avenue.
Although real estate in the Theater District can be costly ($1,825 per square foot on average according to Sedlitz), purchasing in the neighborhood can be more affordable than other sections of Midtown that are closer to Central Park.
"If you want to be in Midtown, you want to be close to your job, close to the train -- these buildings present an opportunity to live in a building where it's more affordable," Sedlitz explained. "If you go close to Sixth Avenue it gets to be not as affordable."
"Broadway is why people travel from across the country and from different parts of the world to come to New York City," said David Vogel, 27, an actor and local who lives just west of the Theater District on Ninth Avenue.
He spends most of his time in the neighborhood at Broadway shows.
Vogel described the area as a great place to network, and invites those considering moving to the Theater District to ask themselves, "How incredible would it be to be living in one of the meccas of NYC?"
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